Petition launched to help save Blyth charity

A charity is fighting back against plans which could see them forced to close down or move to a new home to make way for a station as part of the Northumberland Line.

Friday, 29th October 2021, 10:00 am
Jackie Dawe (centre) with supporters Taylor, Lauren, Sophie, Angie and Corrie at Bebside Horses.

Bebside Horses, near Blyth, provides a home for more than 20 rescue horses, some of which suffered years of neglect and mis-treatment, while working with disadvantaged children in the area.

But their future has been put into doubt after Northumberland County Council earmarked their land for a new station as part of the Line, as well as a new bridge over the A189 and footpath leading to Asda, and told her to vacate the site by March next year.

Jackie Dawe has run the charity for nearly 14 years after being given support by then Blyth Valley MP Ronnie Campbell to set up and said she was shocked when she was first approached by the council 18 months ago who outlined their plans for the land.

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Jackie Dawe with rescued pygmy goat Lenny.

Jackie says as well as her house there are 20 stables on the eight acre site, and has had to get an agent in to help with the negotiations with the council.

Jackie said: “When they first approached me, I said I didn’t want to sell.

"In an ideal world we’d like to stay where we are.

"The council said even if we say no to the deal, it would be done through a Compulsory Purchase Order.

"There is nothing suitable that we could move to.”

She added: “We are a charitable constitution, we have kids coming up to us regularly.

"If we’ve got to take the horses way out of area it’s going to be hard for the children and their parents to get to us.

"We are a vital part of the community.

“We know the Line has to come in but we think allowances should be made. There is nothing in Blyth for the children.

“Kids come here and have a great time, some comment they didn't realise there was something like this in the middle of a town.”

Now a petition has been launched to encourage the county council to reconsider the proposed location for Bebside station or give enough funds for the charity to re-home themselves locally.

The petition, signed by more than 2,500 people so far, reads: “The charity provides support for sick children who attend and also helps a diverse range of children with special needs and those on the autistic spectrum.”

A council spokesperson said: “Very regrettably there is no alternative suitable site in Bebside for the station.

"We fully understand the concerns of the landowner and recognise all the good work that they do both for animal welfare and the local community.

"We are in ongoing talks with the landowner to seek an amicable agreement.

“The introduction of the Northumberland Line will help to regenerate the South East of the county, improving access to employment and education opportunities.

“The new station will provide journey times into the centre of Newcastle of less than 30 minutes, a significant improvement on existing journey times, by avoiding congestion along the A189.

“The proposed footbridge which crosses the Dawes land is required to provide safe access for pedestrians and cyclists from Blyth, and in particular the Chase Farm Estate, avoiding the need to pass through the A189/A193 grade separated junction.”